Liposuction Using Local Anesthesia

One of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures, liposuction sculpts the body by removing undesirable fat from areas such as the
abdomen, waist, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, neck and upper arms. Liposuction is sometimes also referred to as liposculpture.

Dr. Osman’s Technique Using Only Local Anesthesia

Dr. Osman performs liposuction using only local anesthesia, a technique called tumescent liposuction. Liposuction using only local anesthesia offers patients the highest safety record, fastest recovery, and least post-operative pain while permitting the most pure fat removal.

Abdominal liposuction before


Abdominal liposuction after


Abdominal liposuction before


Abdominal liposuction after


In liposuction under local anesthesia, you are awake during the entire procedure, but don’t worry!  It isn’t scary, and it doesn’t hurt. We give you a medicine to help you relax during the procedure, but it does not knock you out.

To start, the area to be sculpted is numbed using a dilute solution of local anesthetic. No general anesthesia is used. Once the area is numbed, tiny incisions are made in inconspicuous places. A cannula (small tube) is inserted and moved back-and-forth beneath the skin, breaking up the fat layer and suctioning it out. Infiltrating the fat with anesthesia prior to suctioning facilitates fat removal, reduces blood loss, provides anesthesia during and after surgery, and helps to reduce the amount of bruising after surgery.

More Fat Removed

More fat can be removed when liposuction is performed using local anesthesia because fat is loosened and spread apart as the anesthetic solution is infiltrated.  Smaller cannulas (small tubes) and less force are needed to remove the fat leading to less trauma, smoother results, and a quicker recovery.

Less Pain and Faster Recovery

We have all heard stories of patients going through a painful and prolonged recovery after traditional liposuction surgery.  Liposuction under local anesthesia is a far more comfortable experience.  Performing liposuction in Los Angeles, Dr. Osman minimizes post-operative pain by using the smallest cannulas possible to limit trauma during the procedure.  Less trauma causes less bruising and leads to a faster recovery.  Also, the local anesthetic used in tumescent liposuction wears off very slowly providing comfort for hours after the procedure.  Further, there is no post-operative nausea or vomiting that can occur when general anesthesia is used.  Discomfort during liposuction is minimized by anesthetizing the areas to be suctioned slowly and with pain relieving medications.  Most of Dr. Osman’s patients can return to work in 1 – 2 days after their procedure.

Safest Technique

Liposuction done using only local anesthesia has an excellent safety record. No cases of death or serious injury have ever been reported. In contrast, deaths have been reported when any other form of anesthesia is used, and the risk increases if other procedures are performed at the same time as liposuction.

After surgery, wearing compression garments and taking antibiotics facilitate healing. Patients go home the same day and many return to work within two days. Patients may return to strenuous activity, including exercise, cautiously as soon as they feel ready. Results are visible immediately, though improvement continues as swelling subsides during the first three to six months. Scars are small and heal almost invisibly.

Frequently Asked Questions


How much fat can be removed by liposuction using local anesthesia?

Up to 4 liters of fat total and approximately 70 – 80% of the fat in a given area can be removed in a single liposuction procedure. Removing more than 4 liters of fat at a time is not safe, and any surgeon who removes more is taking an unnecessary risk. Most people do not have 4 liters of fat in a single area.

Using local anesthesia actually enables more fat removal than traditional liposuction because the local anesthetic breaks the fat apart as it is infiltrated making it easier to extract.

Is liposuction painful when only local anesthesia is used?

The only discomfort you will feel are the initial pinches when we begin to numb the area. These are not even as painful as getting your blood drawn. Once the area is numbed, you won’t feel any pain.

Recovery after liposuction when local anesthesia is used is actually far less painful than traditional liposuction since the local numbing wears off slowly and provides lasting pain control. Also, there is no nausea or sick feeling that sometimes occurs when general anesthesia or sedation is used.

Is liposuction using only local anesthesia safe?

Liposuction done with only local anesthesia has an outstanding safety record. In a very large study following 15,000 patients, not a single one had a serious complication or infection. On the other hand, serious injuries or death have occurred when liposuction is done under general or twilight anesthesia, or sedation.

Are the results from liposuction permanent?

Yes. You are born with a limited number of fat cells. Once they are removed by liposuction, they will not come back.

What happens if I gain weight after having liposuction?

The weight will be distributed to the remaining fat cells in your body. Some fat cells will remain in an area treated by liposuction, and those fat cells will enlarge proportionately as well.

What is the recovery like after local anesthesia liposuction?

Recovery is fast, and this is one of the biggest advantages of performing liposuction (liposculpture) using only local anesthesia. You will be able to walk immediately after the procedure; although, you will probably feel groggy. Most patients are able to return to desk work within 1 – 2 days and to exercise within a few days.

If you cannot accept any time for recovery, you may wish to consider Thermage instead. Thermage is a tissue tightening and shaping procedure that tightens the skin on your face, and tightens and contours your body. This procedure does not provide the level of improvement of liposuction but does not have any downtime. You can have liposuction later if you decide to have Thermage first.

How long after local anesthesia liposuction until I see results?

You should see about 80% of your final result in 4 – 8 weeks.

Will I have loose skin after liposuction using local anesthesia?

Most people will get a certain amount of contraction of their skin after liposuction, but the amount will depend on the quality of their skin. Most patients will not have significantly loose skin, and their skin will retract once the weight of the fat is removed. People with stretch marks or poor skin quality will not have as much retraction. To maximize your skin tightening, we offer a procedure called Thermage which can be done either before or after liposuction to help tighten the skin.

Do I need to wear a garment after local anesthesia liposuction?

Yes, but only for a 3 – 4 days.

Are there scars?

The entrance ports we make for the liposuction cannulas we use are less than 2 millimeters wide which is about the width of the opening of a retractable ball point pen. We place them in the most inconspicuous areas possible, and they almost always heal to be unnoticeable.

How is local anesthesia liposuction different from liposculpture?

Liposculpture is the same as liposuction. The two terms can be used interchangeably; however, liposculpture implies careful and strategic fat removal to sculpt the body which is what Dr. Osman does.

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